With the support and guidance of our health team we have decided that, starting one week after spring break (April 18), wearing a mask outside will be optional. We will continue to require all students and adults to wear a mask indoors. This modification to our existing policy is consistent with our adherence to the guidance issued by the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health as we transition from pandemic to endemic protocols.
Compliance with this guidance throughout the pandemic has served the school well and kept our school a safe and healthy place to learn and play. We look forward to a lovely spring with, as of now, a low community level of COVID-19.
We are grateful for the unity and support expressed in so many ways during this school year. We realize that mask wearing can be a divisive issue and many people have strong convictions on one side or the other. Just as we have navigated the changes of the past two school years, I am confident that we can continue to work together with mutual respect and good will. Covid policies and procedures change quickly and no policy can please everyone, but compromise and cooperation can help us work through what is still a challenging situation.
We remain committed to our multi-layered approach to COVID-19 prevention and to ensuring the health and safety of our students and faculty. We will continue to encourage all members of our school community to consider the vaccine and booster in consultation with their doctor. We will continue to monitor our air purification systems, to promote physical distancing indoors, to limit large indoor gatherings, to insist on good hygiene and handwashing, to clean and disinfect surfaces, and to encourage parents to keep their children home if they show symptoms. We will continue to ask that parents inform us about COVID-19 exposure and positive tests. Wearing a mask indoors (students, parents, teachers, and campus visitors) will also continue to be one of our mitigation strategies.
Each of our teachers will have an open conversation in class about how to be comfortable outdoors and explain that some students may decide not to wear a mask outside and some students may decide to keep wearing their masks outside. To prepare for this class discussion, we suggest:
- That each family have a conversation about whether your child will continue to wear a mask outdoors or not
- That you inform your student that each family will make this decision and that it is our expectation that students will continue to be respectful toward their classmates. Please talk to your children about the importance of extending kindness and courtesy for both those who continue to wear a mask and those who do not.
Please share with your child’s teacher your preference for outdoor masking along with the degree of self-regulation and agency you’ve given your child. Our teachers will do their best to help students remember your family decision.
As always, our Covid policies remain fluid and will continue to be updated as the science and medical advice continues to change. There will be a virtual informational meeting with members of our health team on Tuesday, March 29th at 7:30 pm. Please submit questions in advance to Mariclaire and the health team no later than March 28th.
You have our assurance that we will remain steadfast in striving to protect the health and well-being of our school community. If you have particular concerns about your child, please reach out to me any time. Your support and understanding is appreciated.